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Giovanni (anime)

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Giovanni
サカキ Sakaki
Giovanni XY.png
Art from the XY series
Age Unknown
Gender Male
Eye color Black
Hair color Brown
Hometown Viridian City
Region Kanto
Relatives Madame Boss (mother)
Trainer class Gym Leader
Game counterpart Giovanni
Leader of Viridian Gym
Badge Earth Badge
Specializes in Ground types
Member of Team Rocket
Rank Boss
Anime debut Battle Aboard the St. Anne
English voice actor Ted Lewis/Ed Paul
(EP015-AG132, DP080-present)
Craig Blair
(DP002-DP043)
Japanese voice actor Hirotaka Suzuoki
(EP015-AG132)
Kenta Miyake
(DP002-present)

Giovanni (Japanese: サカキ Sakaki) is the head of Team Rocket, and formerly served as the Gym Leader of Viridian City's Gym, known officially as the Viridian Gym.

Character

The first time Giovanni had been seen in battle was in The Battle of the Badge. He used powerful Pokémon against Gary but later left the Gym to deal with an unexplained emergency, leaving Ash to battle Jessie. By the time Ash returned from Hoenn, Agatha was in charge of the Gym until a new Leader could be found. Giovanni's reasons for leaving it have not been explained. In Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!, Giovanni finally confronted Ash in a battle and won easily.

Despite being feared by Jessie, James and Meowth, he usually displays a very calm demeanor, even in battle. In spite of the trio's countless failures he did trust them to infiltrate the Unova region alone and to lead Operation Tempest which was described as the biggest mission in Team Rocket history. Although he is often seen stroking his Persian, he keeps the rest of his Pokémon in cages and stated to Mewtwo that they could never been seen as equals, as the latter was created artificially by humans. Although calm and cool, Giovanni is truly evil and ruthless, threatening to kill Mewtwo's clones if the legendary Pokémon didn't obey him in Mewtwo Returns and threatening to kill Ash and Pikachu if Meloetta didn't surrender in Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!. Immediately following the failure of Operation Tempest, Giovanni calmly ordered retreat, showing logic rather than recklessness.

Very little is known about his past in any timeline; he is generally shrouded in mystery. The Birth of Mewtwo reveals that his mother was the head of Team Rocket before him. However, this is presumed to be canon in the anime timeline only, as the games have no precedent for this. The radio drama revealed that Giovanni holds his mother in high regard.

History

Giovanni in the original series

While Giovanni very rarely takes the role of antagonist, his agents often have him in mind during missions due to the chance of power, be it through promotion or other means. This gave him a unique series of appearances, mainly during the Hoenn saga, where Meowth often imagined how the Pokémon in each episode could be used to help Giovanni and win the trio promotions. These boss fantasies never show his actual personality and occasionally even show Giovanni in chibi form.

His first appearance was in the episode Battle Aboard the St. Anne, showing to have a Persian as his "top cat" over Meowth, and talking to Jessie, James, and Meowth through a TV screen. His face always remained hidden in the shadows, usually with only his mouth visible. In Island of the Giant Pokémon, it was revealed that he owns the theme park Pokémon Land, and the giant mechanical Pokémon in it. He was not happy to hear that it had been destroyed.

Up until his appearance in the episode The Battle of the Badge, his voice was altered with a vocoder effect, masking his identity. It can be inferred that they were trying to imitate the games, as in Generation I it is not outright revealed that Giovanni, the Team Rocket boss, is the Viridian Gym Leader. As this episode corresponds to the point at which players of the games would discover that the two were the same, Giovanni finally stepped out of the shadows, revealing his face in a Gym battle against Gary Oak, and eventually defeating him utterly using Mewtwo.

Unexplained events in the episode (other than that the events in question necessitated the use of Mewtwo) caused Giovanni to abdicate his position as the Viridian Gym Leader, handing the Earth Badge to the Team Rocket trio that constantly follows Ash (although his orders implied that he wanted the trio to defend the Gym from a possible attack). Through a combination of their own incompetence and Ash's willpower to win the Earth Badge, the Viridian Gym was destroyed at the end of the episode. Due to this, and perhaps other circumstances, Giovanni permanently resigned as Viridian's Gym Leader, as Agatha of the Kanto Elite Four had taken over the Gym temporarily when Ash next returned to Viridian City after his journey in Hoenn.

During his position as a Gym Leader, Giovanni appeared not to care for his Pokémon (aside from Persian), as they were all locked away in cages when not used for a Gym battle.

Giovanni, Domino, and the Rocket grunts

In the episode Showdown at the Po-ké Corral, Giovanni's building was blown up by Mewtwo. He and his Persian survived the explosion and he angrily told Jessie, James, and Meowth to do their job (ironically, they were about to quit).

Giovanni also appeared near the beginning of the movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back, as he was the one who had Dr. Fuji clone Mewtwo for him. After Mewtwo destroyed the lab, Giovanni told Mewtwo that he saw him as a valuable partner, putting armor on Mewtwo and using him to defeat Trainers in Gym battles (including Gary's Nidoking and Arcanine, as seen in the anime) and help Team Rocket in their attempts to steal Pokémon. Eventually Mewtwo confronted Giovanni about his treatment and Giovanni admitted that he didn't see Mewtwo as a partner but as a servant. This enraged Mewtwo and it was this incident which drove it to destroy Giovanni's base, allowing it to escape.

Giovanni is the main antagonist in the movie Mewtwo Returns, seeking out Mewtwo, who by this time was living in peace with the cloned Pokémon at Mount Quena. Once Giovanni discovered it, he tried to recapture it by threatening to use Mewtwo's cloned Pokémon friends in their experiments, experiments that he also claimed would certainly result in their death. He used two machines to try to make Mewtwo submit to his will, but though Mewtwo stepped into the orb, it was still unwilling to serve Giovanni, threatening to destroy his body first. Ash and the others were able to stop the machines, and it was around this time that they faced off against Giovanni and several Team Rocket soldiers. Their Pokémon fought as a distraction so Ash could get Mewtwo into the spring. Once Mewtwo was healed from its injuries, it moved the spring under the mountain to protect it, and then erased the memories of Giovanni and the other Team Rocket soldiers (excluding Jessie, James, and Meowth) of it, making him forget entirely about Mewtwo. Standing next to Domino and Persian wondering what they were doing, he got the strange feeling as though he had been utterly defeated.

During Advanced Generation series, Giovanni was seen monitoring the actions of Team Magma and Team Aqua and ordering minor actions to Jessie and James. He also had minor roles in the Diamond & Pearl series, approving of Jessie, James and Meowth's plan to set up in Sinnoh and appearing in Memories are Made of Bliss! when the recruiting the trio for an important mission.

Offical Giovanni art for the Best Wishes series

In the beginning of the Best Wishes series Giovanni took on a far more significant and antagonistic role than before, now being in regular contact with Jessie, James and Meowth and assigning them on various missions throughout the Unova region. He was now often seen with a secretary, that helped him in giving orders to Jessie, James and Meowth. Giovanni appeared traveling to Unova in A Venipede Stampede!. He was set to appear again in two following episodes, but these never aired and ultimately were retconned out of canon. He did not make any more appearances for a long time afterward, with Matori explaining that he was too busy to be in regular contact with Jessie, James, and Meowth anymore. During this time, his role as the trio's leader was filled by Dr. Zager.

Giovanni under possession by the Reveal Glass

After a long absence, Giovanni returned in Unrest at the Nursery!, making a brief appearance in his office. He then appeared in Meloetta and the Undersea Temple! spearheading Team Rocket's "Operation Tempest," a mission to capture Meloetta and use it to take control of Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus to conquer Unova. For the first time in the history of the series, he battled against Ash directly, with Persian defeating Pikachu. He then captured Ash, Pikachu and Meloetta and escorted them to the ruins in preparation for the next stage of the mission, using Meloetta's song to summon the Reveal Glass in the temple. At the beginning of Unova's Survival Crisis!, he used the Reveal Glass to summon the Forces of Nature and transform them into their Therian Formes before setting them against Ash, Iris, Cilan, Ridley, and Cynthia. However, during the battle, Meloetta was dislodged from the mechanism controlling the trio's power, and after looking directly into the Reveal Glass, Giovanni became possessed by the power and went insane, declaring against his followers' wishes that he would instead destroy Unova. With the power of the Forces of Nature, he began freezing the land in ice, but when he was saved from a possibly life-threatening explosion by Jessie, James and Meowth, the possession was broken. On Dr. Zager's advisement he then ordered a full retreat from the Unova region and was last seen flying off in his airplane to return to Kanto with Jessie, James, Meowth and Dr. Zager.

He reappeared in Farewell, Unova! Setting Sail for New Adventures!, where he congratulated Jessie, James and Meowth on their good work in defeating Team Plasma before telling them to continue doing their best for Team Rocket.

Giovanni appeared in The Dream Continues! in his new design, alongside Matori. After again praising Jessie, James and Meowth for defeating Team Plasma, he wanted to know what Pokémon they had brought back for him from the Decolore Islands. With Jessie and James having nothing to show for their time, Meowth quickly improvised and claimed that the Pokémon Jessie and James had used in Unova were for him, and he accepted them.

Giovanni appeared in A Battle of Aerial Mobility!, where he told the trio to work hard in Kalos. In Awakening the Sleeping Giant!, he appeared when Meowth's boss fantasies returned. However, unlike the previous fantasies, this one depicted him commanding an army of Snorlax to conquer the world and accurately reflected his personality.

He made an appearance in Heroes — Friend and Faux Alike!, where Jessie and James reported their progress in capturing Pokémon for him with their obtaining of Inkay and Pumpkaboo. Pleased with their report, Giovanni told them to keep up their work.

Pokémon

This listing is of Giovanni's known Pokémon in the Pokémon anime.

Giovanni's Persian
Persian
Main article: Giovanni's Persian

Persian is Giovanni's pet, as a reference to James Bond supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Meowth has a never-ending rivalry with it as "top cat."

Debut Battle Aboard the St. Anne
Voice actors
Japanese Rica Matsumoto
English Rica Matsumoto
Giovanni's Golem
Golem
Golem was first seen in its cage while Giovanni went to see Mewtwo. It was the first Pokémon that Giovanni used in his Gym battle with Gary, sending it against Gary's Nidoking. The Megaton Pokémon was easily defeated.

Golem's only known move is Tackle.

Debut The Battle of the Badge
Voice actors
Japanese
English Eric Stuart
Giovanni's Kingler (×2)

Giovanni's Kingler (×2)
Kingler (×2)
Giovanni used his Kingler in his Gym battle with Gary, sending it to battle against Gary's Nidoking. Gary, however, quickly withdraws his Pokémon and calls out Arcanine. Despite having a type advantage, Kingler proved to be no match for the Legendary Pokémon, and was finally taken out by Arcanine's Fire Blast.

Kingler was also later loaned to Jessie for Ash's Gym battle. She used it to battle against Bulbasaur, but lost, although not before dealing heavy damage to Bulbasaur with its Bubble attack, and by consequence, Ash experienced its pain.

Giovanni also has a second Kingler, which was in its cage when Giovanni went to see Mewtwo.

One Kingler was seen again in a flashback in Bad to the Bone, where it was defeated in a Gym battle by Otoshi's Marowak.

The known moves of the Kingler Jessie used are Crabhammer, Harden, and Bubble. The second Kingler's moves are unknown.

Debut The Battle of the Badge
Voice actors
Japanese Rikako Aikawa
English Rikako Aikawa
Giovanni's Machamp
Machamp
Giovanni loaned his Machamp to Jessie for her Gym battle against Ash. It battled against Ash's Squirtle, but lost, although not before dealing heavy damage to Squirtle with its Karate Chop attack, and by consequence, Ash experienced its pain.

Machamp's only known move is Karate Chop.

Debut The Battle of the Badge
Voice actors
Japanese
English Eric Stuart
Giovanni's Rhydon
Rhydon
Giovanni loaned his Rhydon to Jessie for Ash's Gym battle. It was defeated by Ash's Pidgeotto's Double-Edge.

Rhydon was seen again in a flashback in Bad to the Bone, where it was defeated in a Gym battle by Otoshi's Marowak.

None of Rhydon's moves are known.

Debut The Battle of the Badge
Voice actors
Japanese Katsuyuki Konishi
English Katsuyuki Konishi
Giovanni's Cloyster
Cloyster
There's nothing to be known about Giovanni's Cloyster, as it has only been briefly seen in a water tank in Viridian Gym's basement.
Debut The Battle of the Badge

Controlled

Giovanni's Meloetta
Meloetta
Main article: Meloetta (anime)

Meloetta was the key to Team Rocket's "Operation Tempest," and was attacked several times by the Team Rocket trio before finally being captured by Giovanni. He then used it to open a seal on the Abyssal Ruins, summoning the Reveal Glass.

Debut Meloetta and the Undersea Temple!
Voice actors
Japanese Megumi Nakajima
English Megumi Nakajima
Giovanni's Landorus

Giovanni's Landorus
Landorus
Main article: Landorus (anime)

Landorus was summoned by Giovanni with Meloetta and the Reveal Glass. By using the Reveal Glass, Giovanni forced Landorus to transform into his Therian Forme, where he wreaked havoc by freezing a nearby town. After Giovanni had abandoned him, Meloetta calmed Landorus down with its singing.

Debut Unova's Survival Crisis!
Voice actors
Japanese Kenta Miyake
English Marc Thompson
Giovanni's Tornadus

Giovanni's Tornadus
Tornadus
Main article: Tornadus (anime)

Tornadus was summoned by Giovanni with Meloetta and the Reveal Glass. By using the Reveal Glass, Giovanni forced Tornadus to transform into his Therian Forme, where he wreaked havoc by freezing a nearby town. After Giovanni had abandoned him, Meloetta calmed Tornadus down with its singing.

Debut Unova's Survival Crisis!
Voice actors
Japanese Kensuke Satō
English Scott Williams
Giovanni's Thundurus

Giovanni's Thundurus
Thundurus
Main article: Thundurus (anime)

Thundurus was summoned by Giovanni with Meloetta and the Reveal Glass. By using the Reveal Glass, Giovanni forced Thundurus to transform into his Therian Forme, where he wreaked havoc by freezing a nearby town. During the battle, Pikachu absorbed some of his electricity, greatly powering up his Electro Ball. After Giovanni had abandoned him, Meloetta calmed Thundurus down with its singing.

Debut Unova's Survival Crisis!
Voice actors
Japanese Unshō Ishizuka
English Sean Schemmel

Escaped

Giovanni's Mewtwo
Mewtwo
Main article: Mewtwo (original series)

Giovanni held control of this Mewtwo created by his scientists for some time, until it learned that Giovanni had meant its purpose to be fighting for him, and escaped.

While controlling Mewtwo, Giovanni used its overwhelming Psychic powers to capture new Pokémon for Team Rocket and in his Gym battles, where it defeated all of his challengers effortlessly. When Mewtwo discovered Giovanni's real intentions for it, Mewtwo broke out of his bonds and escaped.

Debut The Battle of the Badge
Voice actors
Japanese Masachika Ichimura
English Philip Bartlett

Given

Jessie Woobat.png
Woobat
James Yamask.png
Yamask
Jessie Frillish.png
Frillish
James Amoonguss.png
Amoonguss

In the manga

In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga

Giovanni in The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga

Giovanni makes a cameo appearance in The Electric Tale of Pikachu's Ash vs. Gary where it is revealed that the giant Slowpoke that Ash and Gary attempted to catch was in fact created by Team Rocket. He reveals that he intended to use its calming abilities to take over the world by having it make his enemies lose their will to fight. The plan instead backfired on him, the scientists who created the giant Slowpoke soon found themselves losing their will to dominate anything. As he bangs his head in anger over the fact that he defeated himself, he finds that recollecting about the giant Slowpoke caused his own anger to fade away.

Pokémon

Giovanni's Persian
Persian
Main article: Giovanni's Persian

Persian was seen watching its owner as his anger fades away from remembering the giant Slowpoke that Team Rocket's scientists created.

Debut Ash vs. Gary

In the movie adaptations

Giovanni appeared in Mewtwo Strikes Back!.

Other

Giovanni is the main antagonist of Pokémon Live!. In this show, he offers the exclusive Diamond Badge to anyone who can defeat him. However, this is actually part of a plot to create the ultimate Pokémon, the robotic MechaMew2, which can learn any attack used against it. At the beginning of the story, the only moves MechaMew2 is missing are Thunder Shock and Thunderbolt. He orders Jessie, James and Meowth to capture Ash's Pikachu in order to complete his plan, and later abducts Professor Oak and Delia as well to prevent their interference.

When Giovanni comes face-to-face with Ash in the show's climax, MechaMew2 completes its set of every known move. However, before he can fulfill his plan to take over the world, the real Mewtwo appears and uses an attack that teaches MechaMew2 the value of love and goodness. MechaMew2 rebels against Giovanni and seizes him by the neck before carrying out a Self-Destruct attack, sealing Giovanni's defeat.

Giovanni was played by Darren Dunstan.

Voice actors

Language Voice actor
Japanese 鈴置洋孝 Hirotaka Suzuoki (EP015-AG132)
三宅健太 Kenta Miyake (DP002-present)
English Ed Paul (EP015-AG132, DP080-present)
Craig Blair (DP002-DP043)
Czech Pavel Soukup (EP015-EP157)
Jiří Plachý (M01)
Zdeněk Hruška (season 10)
Marek Libert (season 11)
Dutch Just Meijer (Season 1, 6-7, 14-present)
Stan Limburg (Season 2)
Fred Meijer (Season 3-6)
Sander de Heer (Mewtwo Returns)
Bas Keijzer (Season 8-13)
Finnish Arto Nieminen (EP015-AG079, Mewtwo Returns)
Pasi Ruohonen (EP063-EP066)
Antti Jaakkola (DP002-present)
Anssi Känsälä (M01)
French Canada Daniel Picard
Europe Patrick Deschamps
Indonesian Frenddy J.H. Pangkey (DP191, BW001-present)
Italian Tony Fuochi (Kanto, Hoenn)
Pietro Ubaldi (Kanto redub)
Oliviero Corbetta (Johto)
Giovanni Battezzato (Sinnoh, Unova)
Federico Danti (Unova, Kalos)
Norwegian Even Rasmussen (EP015-EP082)
Tommy Karlsen
Mads Henning Jørgensen
Trond Teigen
Polish Adam Bauman (M01, Mewtwo Returns)
Cezary Kwieciński (Diamond and Pearl, BW022-present)
Wojciech Paszkowski (BW001-BW021)
Brazilian Portuguese Affonso Amajones (EP015, EP063-EP066)
Luiz Antônio Lobue (EP082)
José Parisi Jr. (EP157, AG002, AG027)
Raul Schlosser (EP231)
Armando Tiraboschi (AG079, DP080, DP191, BW001-present)
Gilberto Baroli (AG132)
Vágner Santos (DP002)
Renato Márcio (DP043)
Russian Анатолий Зиновенко Anatolii Zinovenko (EP001-EP105)
Петр Иващенко Peter Ivashenko (Season 14)
Spanish Latin America Alejandro Villeli (EP015-DP043, DP191-present)
Gerardo Vázquez (last scene in DP043)
Humberto Solórzano (DP080)
Spain Ruperto Ares (EP015-EP157)
Rafael Azcárraga (Mewtwo Returns)
José Escobosa (EP231-present)
Roberto Encinas (AG002)

Trivia

  • In Pokémon Live! it is stated that he dated Delia Ketchum, though this is both unmentioned and unconfirmed in the anime.
  • In the English dub, Giovanni is the first character to regain his original voice actor following the voice actor switch.
  • Both Pokémon that Giovanni has rejected in the anime – Jessie's Yanmega and Misty's Togetic – have evolved once after being reunited with their owners.
  • Giovanni is the only evil team leader to date to make an appearance in a Pokémon movie.
    • Giovanni is also the only evil team leader in the anime who has been shown to own Pokémon, instead of just controlling some.
    • Giovanni is also the only evil team leader to have appeared in more than one series of the anime.
  • Giovanni is the only Gym Leader in the anime to have used a legendary Pokémon in a Gym battle.
  • Giovanni is the only Gym Leader from Generation I whom Ash hasn't battled as a Gym Leader.

Names

Language Name Origin
Japanese サカキ Sakaki Sakaki (榊) is a sacred tree in Shinto which resembles the Earth Badge. Also from 坂/阪 saka, slope.
English, French, German,
Italian, Spanish
Giovanni From Italian Giovanni, equivalent to John, gift from God; gio rhymes with geo, from Greek γῆ , earth.
May also be a play on his resemblance to a Mafia boss in control of his mob.
Korean 비주기 Bijugi From 비쭈기나무 Bijjuginamu (Sakaki).
Chinese (Mandarin) 坂木 Bǎnmù*
阪木 Bǎnmù*
From 坂木/阪木 Sakaki, an alternative way of writing the name. 坂 contains the radical (earth).
坂/阪 (slope) is also a homophone to 板 of 老板 lǎo​bǎn (boss).
Chinese (Cantonese) 沙加 Sāgā Partial transliteration of Sakaki. Also contains 沙 (sand).


Related articles


Members of Team Rocket
Bosses: Giovanni (animeAdventuresPocket Monsters)

Madame Boss*Masked Man*

Executives: ArcherArianaPetrelProton

Carl*Sham*Will*Karen*Grey*

Trios:
 
Jessie, James, & Meowth (JJM)
Koga*, Lt. Surge*, & Sabrina* (Triad)
Ken, Al, & Harry (TRET)
Carr, Sird, & Orm (T3B)
Duos: Butch & CassidyAttila & HunAnnie & Oakley*
Others:

 
ExecutivesScientistsGruntsRocket BrothersGideonDr. Fuji
DominoIron-Masked MarauderTysonWendyDr. Namba
SebastianViperMondoPierceDr. ZagerChristopher
MiyamotoRocket ScoutMatoriKaedeBlaine*


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Anime characters
Protagonists Ash KetchumPikachuMistyTogeticBrockTracey SketchitMayMaxDawnPiplup
IrisAxewCilanSerenaClemontBonnieDedenne
Rivals GaryRitchieHarrisonDrewHarleyMorrisonTysonSolidadPaulZoeyNandoKennyConwayBarry
UrsulaTobiasTripBiancaBurgundyStephanGeorgiaCameronVirgilTiernoShaunaTrevor
Antagonists JessieJamesMeowthGiovanniButchCassidyDr. NambaMatoriPierceDr. ZagerShellyArchie
TabithaMaxieHunter JSaturnMarsJupiterCyrusCharonColressAldithGhetsisBarret
Lysandre
Professors Professor OakProfessor IvyProfessor ElmProfessor BirchProfessor Rowan
Professor CarolinaProfessor JuniperCedric JuniperDr. FennelProfessor Sycamore
Relatives Delia KetchumFlintLolaForrestBrock's siblingsDaisyVioletLilyNormanCarolineJohannaChiliCress
GraceMeyer
Supporting Officer JennyNurse JoyTodd SnapCharles GoodshowCaseyLizaSakuraLanceMr. SukizoRaoul Contesta
Vivian MeridianScottLilian MeridianMarianRhondaCynthiaAngieLookerLyraKhouryDon GeorgeAlder
LukeFreddy O'MartianIngoEmmetMontgomeryJervisNAnthea and ConcordiaPorterAlexaAlainMairin
AriaDianthaGurkinn
Gym LeadersElite FourFrontier BrainsMany temporary characters

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